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More often than not as designers we get the data for our charts and graphs from external sources. It's either sent to us through managers or clients usually in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. So, let's take a look at two possible ways to get that data into Illustrator. I will start by creating a print Document, click OK here and I'll use my Column Graph tool to simply click and drag a particular region here where I want my graph to go. Now, the Graph Data window opens up over here, but I need to get the data from Excel here into Illustrator. In fact, let's imagine that right now a client does send you an Excel file and you ahead and you open up that file inside of Excel. I'm actually going to switch over to Excel here and I have a document called surf_forecast.xls, which is a standard Excel spreadsheet file. And what you can see here is actually the information that has been presented to me for creating a chart for this surf_forecast. In this specific case, it's actually displaying the height of the surf for each day of the week and there are samples that are taken four times every day.
I see values here for an entire week, both for California and for Hawaii. So, the easiest way to actually get this data into Illustrator is simply to copy and paste it. I'll just simply highlight all this information right here; copy it by pressing Command+C or Ctrl +C on Windows. Now, let's switch back to Illustrator and I'll simply inside of that Data window just click once just to make sure that I have indicated that I'm inside of this dialog and then I'll press Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste that information and you can see all that information comes right in. All I need to do now is simply click on the Apply button and I'll see exactly how that particular graph is created. So, that's one way to actually bring data from Excel into Illustrator and it's probably the easiest way, especially we just have a one-off chart to do here and there. However, there may be plenty of times when you are actually working inside of Illustrator and you have maybe some ideas or basic charts set in and you want to quickly import data another way.
You want to simply place the file directly into Illustrator. Now, here is the thing. Illustrator itself does not have the ability to place an XLS file. However, Illustrator does have the ability to import data from a standard text file or what is a .TXT file. The information in that file needs to be either tab delimited or comma delimited. Now, you can either request that your client should actually sent you information in that format or if you do have access to Excel, you can do that on your own very easily. Let me close this Graph window over here and I'll create a brand New Document by pressing Command +N or Ctrl +N and let's actually switch back to Excel to format the data in the way that we needed.
So, let's go back over here to Excel. I have my file here called surf_forecast.xls. I'm going to go to the File menu here, I'm going to choose Save As and as a format for this particular file instead of Excel workbook, I'm actually going to go ahead and choose Text (Tab delimited). Notice that when I do so the extension for that file is now .TXT, Illustrator will be able to recognize this format. I will throw it on my desktop and click Save and Excel will simply warn me that this particular format doesn't support multiple sheets, I'll click OK and I'll choose that I do want to save the file and now I'll switch back over here to Illustrator and let's use the exact same Column Graph tool over here to draw out another region here in this new document and instead of me actually copying and pasting information here, I'm going to click on this first button here which is called Import Data. This brings up the Import Graph Data dialog box and I'll simply navigate to my desktop here and will choose that surf_forecast.txt file which I just created.
Now, when I click on the Open button now I see that data all comes in here inside of Illustrator and once again I'll click Apply to accept that information and draw my graph. So, those are two basic ways to get data into Illustrator when working on charts and graphs. Copy and paste from Excel or import a tab delimited or comma delimited text file right into the Graph window here in Illustrator.
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